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Ang Tulay sa Kinabuhi (The Bridge of Life)

By Danna Jill Ebiza – Pagaling, (former CEF of San Fernando) DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS Area Coordinator

Each community has different and unique challenges, some with great challenges yet easily resolved, some appear so easy and simple yet it wounds so deep that the community itself couldn’t help but seek help from others.

Completed Construction of Vented Spillway Bridge in Barangay Da-o, San Fernando, Bukidnon

This story gives us a picture of the experiences of the residents in the community specifically at the river where the sub-project is located.

Barangay Da-o in the Municipality of San Fernando, Bukidnon has a population of 1,145 with 353 households. It has five puroks and two sitios; one of it is Sitio Kiranggel. The Barangay is home to the Matigsalug Tribe. Farming (Corn, Rice, Banana among others) is the main source of income for the communities here; small-scale mining is also a source of income in Da-o.

The barangay is 29 kilometers away from Poblacion Halapitan. The modes of transportation are jeepneys and hired motorcycles. It takes an hour and a half to travel to the barangay proper. Thus, there is difficulty on emergency responses because of its terrain and distance. Barangay Da-o was then affected by an armed conflict; in 2004 there was an encounter between New People’s Army and Philippine Army. Many soldiers of the Philippine Army were killed, but there were no civilian casualties. Currently, the security of the community is considerably safer than before according to residents.

According to the Punong Barangay, Medy M. Mancilla, during year 2010 & 2015 there were flash floods that devastated the communities killing adults and children who were then crossing the river just to get home from their farm and from neighboring barangays.

The main reason that the community volunteers decided on the Construction of Spillway Bridge as their number one priority is knowing that this intervention answers the need of the people.

Community volunteer, Marivic Palo says “Dili na namu gusto nga aduna pay mga kinabuhi nga ma kalas ug masayang panahon nga muabut na usab ang daku nga baha (We don’t want loss of lives again, should there be floods again)”. This was based on Barangay Participatory Situational Analysis result and as decided by the Barangay assembly, it was approved. Before year 2016 concluded, there are 4 rivers to cross before reaching Barangay Da-o, and one of these is the specific location of the current sub-project.

Barangay Da-o is one of the nine recipients of DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS NCDDP with P20M grant in San Fernando for the 1st cycle. Barangay Da-o has a sub-project of Construction of 12 meter vented spillway bridge with reinforced concrete pavement having a total cost of P1,357,686.95.

The spillway bridge sub-project started its implementation on February of 2017 after months of trying to solve the problem by the community volunteers and Barangay officials. The implementation was delayed for more than a year since there were uncontrollable situations that arose in the community the moment it started the implementation. The community itself could not help but seek assistance from other partners just to solve the problem.

All residents are the direct beneficiaries of the sub-project thus, everyone is excited to work and be involved with the implementation. The target of the sub-project is not just the physical structure but of the purpose that the community people has involvement, responsibility, accountability and ownership towards the sub-project.

In August of 2017, the sub-project was 100% completed. The community people involved during sub-project implementation is very grateful for the success completion of the sub-project. As what the Barangay Sub-Project Management Committee (BSPMC) chairman, Josar M. Acain, said after the completion of the sub-project, “Ang kahumanan sa proyekto kadaugan ug kalampusan usab sa mga lumulopyo sa komunidad (the completion of the project is victory and achievement of the residents of the community).”

There is now an easy access going in and out of the community. Residents and children no longer feel in danger as they pass the spillway bridge be it day or night. The farmers are more grateful since the sub-project totally addressed the need for convenient transportation of farm products to the market.

Damage to the community sub-project brought about by Tropical Storm Vinta

Four months after the sub-project completion, on December 22, 2017, a flash flood came with Tropical Storm Vinta, residents of the community attested that for many years they lived in the place – it was the first time they have seen the flood seemingly wanting to destroy everything. This damaged the sub-project spillway bridge.

The BSPMC and the Barangay Council yet again encountered a problem after the incident because the headwalls of the spillway were damaged and boulders that blocked the flow of the water. The Kalahi-CIDSS community account is already fully utilized and has since been closed leaving the community to fend off for themselves or find ways to fund the repair of the affected parts of the spillway bridge.

Damaged repaired on the affected parts of the community sub-project with the help of the local government unit of San Fernando, Bukidnon

The barangay, with the community, sought help from the Local Government Unit of San Fernando which responded to their request in 6 month’s time.

Volunteers of Barangay Da-o have learned how to help and work together in times of challenges, be it light or heavy; today, the community maintains positivity, with the belief that through unity, hardwork and dedication, any challenge they encounter can be resolved.

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